Ian Carr: Why are good ethical standards important in the workplace?


Like many sectors in the UK, the legal profession is finding it challenging to recruit and retain good staff. Unemployment levels are at a historic low making finding new recruits challenging.


In such a scenario it is important to provide an attractive working environment to potential recruits. Care for the environment, charitable activity and strong moral values can play a vital role for those offering employment opportunities, but this is fast becoming a ‘must have’ rather than a discretionary option.


Salary and benefits are not the only factors considered by those seeking employment and people have their own strong personal values that they wish to see embraced by a future employer. Employers need to demonstrate and articulate their values in order to attract the best employees.


A global awakening to climate change is currently a ‘hot’ topic, with activist protests in recent weeks and the ‘Attenborough’ effect taking hold, the consciousness of the community is wide-spread and wide-ranging. Therefore, it is essential that prospective employers can provide clarity and policy on how they treat the environment and people within the community.


A good recruitment strategy needs many facets to it and needs to include transparency of appraisals and pay reviews so that employees feel fairly treated to their peers. Employers should set out stretching, yet achievable targets with a commensurate reward system.


Creating an environment where people can actively develop and achieve their goals is key, but there’s a need for balance, so that it does not create an unhealthy competitive arena.


Outline clear policies that promote diversity in all areas: religion, ethnicity, gender and sex. Ensure these values are lived from the top down.


The environment clearly needs to be a safe and healthy one with visible compliance to the regulatory requirements. Proper consideration should also be given to environmental and welfare issues; with a strategy to reduce waste, a recycling policy, provision of healthy food options, identifying and managing stress and even offering exercise and wellbeing opportunities within the workplace.


Employers should also promote flexible working hours, to show an understanding that ‘family matters’ and provide a strong work-life balance.


Having robust protocols in the workplace has a direct financial benefit to businesses, as recruiting the best people for the vacancy ensures high performance standards and increases retention rate. This reduces the need to retrain new people and spend money on expensive recruitment fees.


Strong ethical standards are therefore a vital part of the recruitment process that need to be lived not only by the middle and junior ranks but to be part of the corporate DNA of the leadership team.


So, how would your business fare in a recruitment scenario based on ethical standards?


By Ian Carr, CEO, Prettys.



About the author


Before becoming CEO at Ipswich-based Prettys in 2015, Ian had a hugely successful career in business spanning more than 30 years. Understanding both the world of corporate and law, Ian initially trained as a chartered accountant.


He became the finance director of a major firm, growing the business from 90 employees to over 500 in five different offices. He has also been a director and partner at high-profile businesses.


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